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Guest Chef Event with Ferran Adrià

Ground-breaking Chef Ferran Adrià visited Le Cordon Bleu London for a Q&A and book signing of his book, Coffee Sapiens published by Phaidon and released in March 2019.

At the event, Adria spoke of his partnership with Lavazza, the inner workings of his fascinating new book aimed at coffee aficionados and culinary professionals and explained the genesis of the elBullifoundation.

Born in 1962 in Spain, Adrià was Head Chef at elBulli in Costa Brava, Spain, the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant voted The World’s Best Restaurant by Restaurant magazine a record five times. The elBulli restaurant was highly popular and greatly impacted the culinary industry, with many chefs and restaurants around the world taking inspiration from it.

Adrià decided to close elBulli in 2011 and has since devoted much of his time to the launch of elBullifoundation, whose purpose is to feed creativity. Adrià explained to guests that once he closed his doors at elBulli, he no longer saw himself as a Chef, but as a researcher.

He explained to guests, to understand Coffee Sapiens, you must understand elBullifoundation. The elBullifoundation birthed the elBullipedia book project, which contains all his research. In many ways, one can consider the project as a library, as it is a collection of stored data. Adrià believes that the culinary industry does not have enough material and resources as many other industries may have. Therefore, the project aims to provide systematic information to help improve and feed the industry with knowledge. He did this by using the Sapiens approach, which he has been using for many years throughout his career. Sapiens is a methodology used to gather knowledge, understanding and to encourage innovation to any topic, product, project, company or even entire sector, without limitation.

Several companies from wide-ranging fields have applied the Sapiens approach since Adrià re-introduced it, including Elisava Design School, who have used this school of thought to create a Master in Creative Process; CaixaBank to create a guide for entrepreneurs; and Telefónica, who have brought innovation to schools; and the multinational company Huguette Permentier who seek to innovate in interior design.

Lavazza and elBullifoundation collaborated to create Coffee Sapiens as a contribution to the elBullipedia project. It is aimed at all coffee and culinary lovers, and aims to encourage experimentation in the field of gastronomy. Prior to this collaboration, Lavazza had for many years supported his project, although they had not yet formally worked together.

In the presentation, Adrià explained the Sapiens philosophy to guests, which he applied to the book. It covers the wider world of modern cuisines, with literature on the history and future of the industry. For example, if somebody wants more information on a specific topic, or wants to create better dishes or launch a business, they can use the book to help them find their way.

Once the presentation was over, he interacted with guests in a Q&A session while the Lavazza team prepared some very special, non-alcoholic, coffee-based cocktails for guests to enjoy.

To close the event, guests queued up to meet Adrià and get their books signed. Also available for purchase was the full range of Adrià’s books including A Day At Elbulli, Modern Gastronomy A to Z, Creative methods: elBulli 1983-2002 and The Family Meal.

Want to start your very own culinary journey just like Adrià? Visit our programmes page to find browse through our range of courses and take the first step.


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Famous for his pioneering culinary techniques, he has been applauded – and imitated – around the world, winning three Michelin-stars for elBulli, along with many other accolades including being voted as 'The World’s Best Restaurant' a record five times. elBulli has been one of the most creative and influential restaurants of our time, and has trained many of the interesting chefs working today. With his elBullifoundation, opened in 2013, Adrià has created a centre for research into gastronomic innovation whose mission is to study and catalogue the entire body of world culinary knowledge.